Managing Diversity

Diversity is recognizing and respecting the value of human differences. It means that the organization or employees work together to build sustainable relationships among themselves with diverse backgrounds. It provides equal treatment and access to the decision for all employees regardless of race, sex, ethnicity and physical disability. The essential tool to value diversity is to form a common ground within which the employees can communicate. The organization has vision, goals, rules, and regulations that respect cultural diversity.

HR plays a key role in diversity management and leadership to create and empower an organizational culture that fosters a respectful, inclusive, knowledge-based environment where each employee has the opportunity to learn, grow and meaningfully contribute to the organization’s success.

Diversity focuses on individuals. It makes the most effective use of the differences and similarities between people for the benefit of wider society and organizations. People are valued for their skills and talents. It creates a working environment all employees contribute to the advantage of the business, employees, and society. It offers the opportunity for organizations to develop a workforce to meet business goals and to improve approaches to customer care. It involves the minimization of cloning in selection, promotion procedures and resourcing aimed at finding flexible employees.

Diverse organization ethos forces it to utilize the skills and experiences of the employee to its fullest and contributes to overall growth and prosperity. When all the segments are utilized, everyone is benefited as it provides a variety of solutions to problems in service, sourcing, and allocation of resources. Employees from diverse backgrounds bring individual skills and experiences which help the business to open up new markets and reach new customers. Diversity as an originator is a driving force that nurtures potential.

The employees are inspired to perform to their highest ability by the company. Company-wide strategies can be executed; resulting in higher productivity, profit, and return on investment. It is a marketing tool to penetrate new market shares. Diversity is pro-active and is driven by organizational needs. It utilizes and maximizes the potential of the employee for the benefit of the organization. It is perceived to enrich an organization’s human capital. For example, The Employment Equality Act 2004 prohibits discrimination concerning employment based on gender, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, age, religion, and race.

For example, The Volvo Group values diversity as a key factor that has given away to increased shareholder value, a dynamic corporate culture, more customers, work satisfaction, loyalty and a higher quality brand in the marketplace. The Volvo Group’s policies and decisions implement the Code of Conduct. It supports and respects Human Rights and Non-Discrimination where its employees are not discriminated against concerning gender, race, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, ethnic origin, nationality, and political opinion.

Volvo Cars began to look at diversity in the early 1980s, due to the introduction of equality legislation in Sweden. The main issue in focus was the employment and promotion of women improved by company policy on gender equality (conforming to Swedish law). The successful implementation of gender initiatives encouraged the company to develop a Diversity Management (DM) program aimed at improving business performance. Positive outcomes as a result of implementing diversity management- More women have been appointed to top positions in the company as a result of focused activities related to gender in the company.

Volvo’s Diversity highlights on three main themes:

Demographic diversity – this embraces such population characteristics as age, cultural or ethnic origins, socioeconomic status, gender, ability, and sexual orientation.

Informational diversity – this covers such issues as educational background, international experience, professional experience, industry experience and so on.

Values diversity – this includes such concepts as life-style choices, motivation, personal values, and work-style preferences.

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